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Disorganization is Going to Kill Me – Is Anyone Else Turning Lazy with the Miles & Points Hobby?!?

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Disorganization Miles & Points Hobby

One of the trickier parts of this hobby for me has always been organization. Sure I love me a spreadsheet as much as the next nerd, but with so much to track (especially when you add business expenses, etc.) it can get daunting. For this reason I have found that I occasionally fall way behind on updating things. That has been especially true this year coming out of the pandemic era and into almost full time travel. Who has the time?

Confession – Organizing Cards Has Always Been Tedious For Me

When I started in this hobby about a decade ago I didn’t have too many cards and wasn’t quick enough to get a spreadsheet together. In those early days I didn’t track my card numbers, open dates, bonuses, etc. I did go back and manually audit stuff but I had so few cards that it didn’t make a huge difference. Until it did.

Eventually as my cards grew I did begin a spreadsheet that has all of the necessary info I need. And that is perfect when you create it, because it makes it so much easier to have everything in one place. The problem is that cards come and go, replacement cards get sent and if you aren’t on top of updating it, things can go sideways pretty quickly. That is exactly what I just had to overcome.

Getting My Cards In Order

I just got home a couple of days ago and naturally had tons of replacement cards and other things that needed activation. I also realized I had a ton of expired cards, some closed cards and a spreadsheet that hadn’t been updated in awhile. I have been adding new cards as they come, but was too lazy to remove cards and update numbers when replacements came.

My morning began with gathering all of the physical cards in our possession. I found tons that were expired and shredded them and others that hadn’t been updated on our spreadsheet. I used to list all of my cards in the same area, but decided to up my organization by creating separate sections by bank. Everyone will do this differently, but it took hours to update everything, organize it in a new way and make sure the spreadsheet matched my actual open accounts and that I had physical cards for every account in my possession. Ugh.

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Is the Hobby Worth the Time?

This hobby can be a time suck for sure. Ultimately we get great value out of miles and points and that can largely offset the time spent on things like organization, but it is something that has to be accounted for. Without this organization you could miss deals, pay excess annual fees and deal with other hassles. That doesn’t even take into account the separate spreadsheets I have to track all of the Amex Platinum credits and other offers that come and go. Oh and then there is the one for gift cards. My head is spinning.

So what is my point? It’s okay to get a little disorganized and even to scale back when things become too much. Or at least I am telling myself that! Either way I’m happy to once again have a fully updated spreadsheet so I can get lazy again and let it fall into disarray. 😉

How do you stay on top of all of the organization needed for this hobby? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomerhttps://milestomemories.com/
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

19 COMMENTS

  1. I methodically check each online bank/card account on the 15th and 30th of the month to make sure I’m not missing a payment date. When I log into those accounts I also enable all the offers available even if I won’t use them to trigger new offers. I use the Microsoft “Keep” app to make notes of any special offers that I would use for sure and to take photos of each card (Front and back) so I always can access them for online shopping deals. I also keep a note of special spend offers like 5x at gas stations in the 3rd quarter and which cards trigger that. I also want to track all this with a spreadsheet but seem to be too disorganized to start doing that, odd since I love Excel. I use Cashback Back Monitor and EVrewards to check for deals and where to shop through when purchasing online. I have to go into Simplymiles to trigger those deals at least once a month but it’s a pain to track those.

    • Yeah I should have mentioned Travel Freely. I love the app and think it is perhaps the best tool out there for this. I was using it and like the spreadsheet failed to keep up. We have in excess of 70 cards between my wife and I.

  2. I agree with Gib. Anybody willing to share a sample spreadsheet? Also, where can I buy a BIG loose leaf
    folder with all the headings…credit limit, date credit card started, annual fee, bonus amount, etc., etc.
    Also with room below for what airlines, hotels I can transfer to with these Miles/points…
    For instance, which Marriott hotel brands offer free breakfast?
    Under the IHG page, have written down which IHG brands offer free breakfast?
    Thanks.

  3. Yes I am feeling that way too. Just lost 40k MR pts on an Amex Plat bonus that I did not keep track of properly. I realized 2 weeks too late that I missed the min spend

  4. I use the WalletFlo app to keep track of open and close dates and the notes app on my phone to keep track of the Amex and Chase offers I might use. I’m getting lazy on bank bonuses and Rakuten deals like the personal capital deal. I just don’t feel like linking all my accounts.

  5. I have 2 cards earning 5X on rotating categories, I always seem to have a card offering temporary spend bonuses on different categories ie WOH card, IHG, 5 Citi cards, and 6 Amex cards. I forget when these promos begin and end. Drives me nuts

  6. The hardest part is remembering which card to use on which offers. The offers from Amex, Chase, Citi, BofA, US Bank, SimplyMiles, etc. are both similar and different among both banks and individual cards. I just recently made a purchase thinking I was smart because I was “triple stacking” – shopping portal, discounted gift card and 5x category bonus. I then discovered the whole purchase could have been free with one of the Amex offers I had already loaded.

  7. I struggle with this problem as well. I have a really bad habbit of creating a spreadsheet or some other tracking document, updating it for a while, getting lazy and forgeting about updating it, deciding the spreadsheet/tracking tool is not really adequate and starting over with a new spreadsheet format, and then repeating the whole inefficient process. It’s not a huge problem until life/work inevitably gets more busy, then it leads to occasional late fees and (more significant) more stress. I’m trying to do better.

  8. I’m terrible at organization. As a result I expect I’m only about 80% efficient in realization of expected value of points. I lose efficiency in all areas with the exception of expired points. But I lose efficiency in using points just before expiration on low value options.
    But I think of it like I do my tire rotation. Is the extra effort worth the extra efficiency? For many the answer is yes, but for me, no.

  9. Stopped keeping a spreadsheet in 2019 & now just fly by the seat of the pants. 3 players, maybe 50 or 60 cards, I think? And no auto-pay lol. No major issues so far.

      • No not for quite awhile. I’ve caught a few like the day they were due, but I usually sit down and just go through the accounts once a month in 10-20 mins writing down any due dates where I can’t pay off balances immediately (waiting for resale items to pay out, MS to deposit and clear, etc.) There’s only so many issuers & I manage all the logins & pw’s. We hit Amex hard, Chase has it’s limits and Citi is a joke. BoA, PenFed, Affinity, USB, WF are MSR/SUB and/or MS targets and then done. A few unnamed CU’s with lucrative cards/MS round out the bunch.

        I think you get to a point where there’s only so many cards you can apply for and only so many where it’s worth spending on long term. But that’s our experience, as always YMMV.

        Safe travels.

  10. Similar setup here too. Excel spreadsheet except with two tabs, one spreadsheet has current open credit cards with all the pertinent columns, the 2nd spreadsheet has the closed cards. When closing an account just a cut from the “open” spreadsheet and a paste to the “closed” spreadsheet. With all the columns it’s easy to sort for the info I’m looking for.

      • Anybody willing to share an example spreadsheet? I only have 3 players and about 30 cards but do a lot of Visa churning. How much info do you guys keep on all your used gebits?

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